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The Right Tools for the Job

It appeared that the problem with deleting the COM1 folder centered on the permissions to access the folder. I can't change the permission to the folder because Windows doesn't allow the folder to exist. I tried XCACLS and CACLS to no avail. I checked out the owner of the parent folder—it is Administrators, as it should be. I can't see the owner of COM1 because Windows freaks out when I even look at the dirty folder. I tried walking around the block to think it over. Nothing.

Later that night, I remembered a tool that's used to take ownership of folders that you can't delete. Here's the deal: Let's say that for experimental purposes you have installed Windows 2000 twice on the same partition: a WINNT folder and a WINNT2 folder. You want to keep one of the 2000 installs and axe the other. If you try to remove all your Windows 2000 directories without formatting the drive, you can't. One of the folders, called /Installer, has some special .MSI files inside.

And along comes takeowner.exe. This gadget allows you, the Administrator, to take ownership of the directory. Unfortunately, when I thought of this hot idea, it was 2 a.m. and my client was probably at home, fast asleep with his three cats. I could hardly wait to get to his server room to try out takeowner.exe.

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